Customers have an amazing amount of choice when buying a bottle of wine these days. One marketing technique used to attract consumers, is to place awards on wine bottles.
University of Otago PhD student Rosemarie Neuninger has been looking at how awards influence consumer’s perception of wine quality.
First, Rosemarie set up focus groups to explore how awards are perceived among different groups of consumers. These groups consisted of people with different levels of involvement in the wine industry, from students to expert wine writers to members of wine associations. She found that consumers were sceptical about awards, saying they lacked trust in the awarding process and did not know who the judges were, and wanted more transparency.
Rosemarie Nueninger with the wine tasting experiment set out on the table
Rosemarie also conducted an experiment with students taking the Introduction to Wine Business paper, asking them to try four glasses of pinot noir and then rate them without any other extrinsic information, then the participants tried another four glasses of wine with pictures of the bottles and different wine awards on them. Ruth Beran became a willing participant in one of these experiments, to see how it was conducted.
Rosemarie found that participants in the experiment were influenced by the type of wine award, scoring the wine higher if it was a gold award, or a well-known award, with multiple awards having the opposite effect.
Rosemarie’s PhD is in marketing and Tara Duncan from the Department of Tourism also assisted with her research.